SNU names 2004 Alumni Awardees

On Saturday, November 13, 2004, the Southern Nazarene University Alumni Association honored eight former students and two faculty emeriti during the annual SNU Homecoming Showcase concert at Bethany First Church of the Nazarene. Each year, the Association presents Outstanding Alumni Awards to SNU alumni who have had a significant impact on his or her profession, community or church.

This year’s honorees were Cheryl Carley, Nursing; Kent Dougharty, Medical Missions; Ron Hodges, Research; Charles Rudd, Medical; Karen Slimak, Research; Sharon Young, Science Education; Val Christensen; Jim Herrick; with special recognition to Dr. Gene Heasley and Dr. Robert Lawrence.

CHERYL (STEMEN) CARLEY (Outstanding Alumni Award)
Cheryl Carley (’87) is the Nursing Administrator at The Children’s Center in Bethany, OK. The Children’s Center is a unique, specialized, non-profit hospital for multiple handicapped children – the only one of its kind in Oklahoma. As Nursing Administrator, Cheryl oversees all aspects of patient care for this 100-bed facility with a staff of nurses and certified nursing assistants totaling 150.

Cheryl began her career at The Children’s Center as a nursing assistant while attending Bethany Nazarene College (BNC). Cheryl received her B.S. degree with a nursing major in 1987 and worked at Deaconess Hospital in Oklahoma City for a year before returning to The Children’s Center as an R.N. During the past 15 years, she has helped to develop and implement many in-house patient care programs that have kept The Children’s Center in the forefront. In 1999, The Children’s Center opened a beautiful, state-of-the-art facility and has steadily received local, state, and national acclaim. Cheryl was involved in selecting designs for the patient cubical areas and evaluating equipment features that would insure comfortable living for the children and an efficient working environment for the employees. The work at The Children’s Center begins where all are equal, the heart. Those who know her say Cheryl is a perfect fit.

Cheryl and her family are members of Bethany First Church of the Nazarene where she is actively involved in her Sunday School class ministries and activities as well as a sponsor at many youth group activities. She often assists with school activities for her children, Seth, a sophomore, and Emma, a 6th grader, both at Bethany Public Schools. Cheryl is married to Donnie Carley (’86).

KENT W. DOUGHARTY (Outstanding Alumni Award)
While a student at BNC, Kent felt called to be a doctor with a keen sense of awareness that this call would someday lead to service on the mission field. After earning a B.S. degree in biology from Bethany Nazarene College in 1980, Kent continued his education, graduating from the College of Medicine at the University of Oklahoma. He then successfully completed a Family Practice Residency in Bartlesville, OK, through the OU-Tulsa medical program.

Following his training, Kent practiced in Bethany, OK, Gadsden, AL, and Tyler, TX. In 1992, the Church of the Nazarene Missions Board appointed Kent to a seven-year specialized assignment to Cote d’Ivoire, West Africa, fulfilling the call he had felt while in college. On the field, Kent initially served as Director of the medical work in the Ivory Coast and later as Medical Director for the West Africa Field, supervising medical works in the Ivory Coast, Ghana and Nigeria. At the completion of his seven-year commitment, Kent returned to Bethany where he currently practices the art of medicine in a compassionate manner as part of God’s healing process.

Kent is an active member of Bethany First Church and presently serves on the Sunday School Ministries Board. He is married to Mary (Johnson) (’82); they have two teenage children, Karyn and Bryant.

RONALD V. HODGES (Outstanding Alumni Award)
Ronald V. Hodges (’73) is a chemist in the Materials and Structures Department at Lockheed Martin’s Advanced Technology Center (ATC) in Palo Alto, CA. Most of his work supports the Navy’s submarine-launched Fleet Ballistic Missile system. He also serves as the ATC’s Webmaster.

After graduating from Bethany Nazarene College with a B.S. in chemistry, Ronald entered graduate school at the California Institute of Technology, where he earned a Ph.D. in chemistry. He spent a year at the Army Research Laboratory in Maryland on a National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellowship. He then held a position as Visiting Scientist in the Molecular Physics Department at SRI International in Menlo Park, CA, before joining Lockheed Martin in 1980. Ron has published 19 articles in scientific journals and presented papers at government symposia.

Outside of work, Ron is active in the musical life of his community. For 21 years, he has sung with the Peninsula Cantare, a community choir in Redwood City, CA, and has enjoyed choir tours to Europe and Australia. He has studied organ and composition with private teachers. Two of his compositions were performed at Christmas services at Stanford University’s Memorial Church.

Ron has served in the church at various times as Sunday School teacher, pianist, organist, choir member, and board member.

CHARLES W. RUDD (Outstanding Alumni Award)
Charles graduated from Bethany Nazarene College (BNC) in 1964 with a B.S. degree in biology and chemistry. Charles received his D.O. degree in 1969 from the University of Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery in Des Moines, Iowa. He completed his internship in Tulsa, OK, and then set up a solo family practice in San Antonio, TX.

After seven years, the practice overwhelmed his time. He sold the practice and joined the Occupational Medicine Service of the United States Air Force. He attended Primary School of Aerospace Medicine and became a Flight Surgeon in the Texas Air Guard. During his six years of service, he worked in an Emergency Room group that covered several hospitals in Texas.

In 1984, Charles purchased a large family practice in Houston, TX, where he now resides. The walk-in, acute care family practice is dedicated to serving less fortunate citizens in the community. Charles is now semi-retired, seeing patients two weeks of each month.

Charles married Priscilla (West) (’64) of Rogers, AR, in September of 1964. They have two children and three grandchildren. Charles enjoys traveling with Priscilla when he is not at the practice. He is a member of the church board at Lake Houston Church of the Nazarene and has a keen interest in the continued excellence of SNU science.

KAREN M. (BALLARD) SLIMAK (Oustanding Alumni Award)
Karen Slimak (’69) is President, Applied Science and Technology International, Inc. (ASTi); Director, ARV Labs; President, Custom Products LLC; and CEO, Timber Treatment Technologies, LLC. ASTi and ARV Labs are research organizations whose focus is to study the human effects of exposure to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the environment. The other companies develop and market consumer and building products that eliminate VOC exposures.

In the early ‘80’s, Karen uncovered an apparent strong link between human exposure to volatile organic compounds (smells from plastics, paint, perfumes, carpet, etc.) and symptoms of clients suffering from a variety of chronic diseases. Since then, understanding the mechanisms involved and verification of the causal relationships has been her life’s work. Karen is currently able to measure immunological and enzymatic responses over long periods of time through the use of special rooms she has designed to reduce the VOC exposure levels. Much of her present research and scientific publication involves studying the apparent strong link between symptoms of autism and chronic environmental exposures to volatile organic compounds in children.

As she began to understand the importance of eliminating VOC-exposures, Karen invented and patented many products that have no VOC signature, currently grouped into 27 U.S. and international patents, and other pending applications. The year 2004 has been a breakout year for her wood treatment products. TTT’s TimberSil™-treated wood products (infused with glass) have captured a significant portion of the wood-treatment industry.

Karen lives in Springfield, VA. She is married to Michael Slimak, Ph.D. (’69), a Senior Executive with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. She is mother to three children now in their 20’s; Alan, Katherin, and Robert. In her spare time, Karen studies with a vocal coach and occasionally performs.

SHARON YOUNG (Outstanding Alumni Award)
Sharon grew up in western Oklahoma and when it came time to select a college, the decision was easy. As a third generation Nazarene, she had been nurtured by loving parents, Clair Young and the late Eva Mae (Hamman)Young, and the small, yet faithful, local Church of the Nazarene. When Sharon left home, it was to attend her mother’s alma mater, Bethany Nazarene College (BNC), where she majored in biology and worked as a lab assistant under her mentor, Dr. Robert Lawrence. Graduating with honors, Sharon attended Oklahoma State University (OSU) with a National Science Foundation Fellowship and earned an M.S. degree designed for biology teaching. From there, Sharon completed a Ph.D. in entomology at OSU and began teaching at Bethany Nazarene College in ’68.

At BNC, Sharon joined two other young biology professors, Dr. Robert Judd and Dr. Leo Finkenbinder, in the brand new science building and began building upon the past tradition of a department strong in both biology and pre-medicine. Sharon went on to teach with Judd and Finkenbinder for more than 30 years. And although these men have since retired, Sharon continues to enjoy working with her current fellow colleagues.

As professor in SNU’s Division of Science and Mathematics, Sharon has taught more than 12 different courses as well as written lab manuals and study notebooks for two classes. She has led a number of research projects, providing hands-on instruction for her students. She has also taken numerous trips around the world to conduct field studies, including Costa Rica where she developed a substantial insect collection at SNU’s QERC field station funded by Catalyst Science Alumni. During two different rotations, she also served as Chair of the Biology Department.

Committed to a strong Christian faith, Sharon participates in the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU), attending conferences focused on the integration of faith. She has also participated in three Consultations of Nazarene Professors of Religion and Sciences. Knowing that many of her former students are not only successful in graduate programs in medicine, biology and a variety of other professions, but that are Christians serving across the nation and around the world gives Sharon her greatest sense of accomplishment.

Sharon has been active in the life of the SNU campus, sponsoring the class of ’79, participating in the SNU Centennial bicycle ride from Greenville, TX, to Bethany, serving on numerous committees, representing the faculty to the SNU Board of Trustees on three different occasions, and serving as Faculty Marshal for graduation exercises for 20 years. She is also a member of
Oklahoma City First Church of the Nazarene.

Summers are no time for extended vacations for Sharon. In between field studies, she has also been a science instructor at the SNU Excel Camps and has served as visiting Research Professor at the Oklahoma Health Science Center.

Sharon is currently serving as President of the Oklahoma Academy of Science, an organization where she has enjoyed active participation and leadership for the past 20 years.

VAL J. CHRISTENSEN (Heritage Award)
Val J. Christensen (’48) earned an A.B. degree in chemistry at Bethany Peniel College (BPC) and a Ph.D. from the University of Kansas in 1952, at which time he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and Sigma Xi. He worked in industrial research for eight years for Dow Chemical Co. and was granted one patent before joining the faculty of Pasadena/Point Loma Nazarene College in 1960. As the only Ph.D. in Science and Mathematics at the time at Pasadena/Point Loma, he was charged with building up the science division, which now has more than 20 full-time Ph.D. faculty in Science and Mathematics.

In 1978, Val became Associate Dean of Point Loma, and ten years later, after Loren Gresham returned to SNU as President, Val became Dean of the Faculty and Academic Vice President. During this time the curriculum was completely restructured, the college moved to the semester calendar, the Center for Wesleyan Studies and Point Loma Press were established, academic administration organized on the university model, and accreditation was renewed.

Val co-authored, with the Heasley brothers, the successful text, Chemistry and Life in the
Laboratory, published by Prentice-Hall and currently in its 5th edition. Active in his local church, he has served as building committee chairman for three congregations, and for 10 years as Sunday School Superintendent at Pasasdena First Church of the Nazarene. In retirement, Val and his wife, Mildrene (Hale) (’49), live in San Diego and attend First Church of the Nazarene. Their three sons, Michael, Jeffrey, and Steven are educators. They enjoy eight grandchildren.

JAMES L. HERRICK (Heritage Award)
James Herrick (’52) earned a B.S. degree in biology from BPC. He received the D.O. degree from the Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine in Kirksville, MO, in 1957 and went on to receive an M.D. degree from the University of California, Irvine, in 1962. He had internship and surgical residencies in Oklahoma and California prior to establishing a general surgery practice in Chico, CA. One of his particular interests was hernia surgery using local anesthesia. He was Chairman of the Department of Surgery at Chico Community Hospital and Chaplain of the Butte-Glenn County Medical Society.

After practicing in Chico for 12 years, James moved his family to Orange County where he practiced general surgery for 14 years before serving as Lt. Col. in the United States Air Force during the Persian Gulf War. Since that time, he has worked in Correctional Medical Services in California.

James is certified by the International College of Surgeons and is a Diplomat of the American Board of Abdominal Surgery. He has served in mission hospitals in the Dominican Republic, Cote d’Ivoire, West Africa, Ecuador and Baja California, Mexico.

He and his wife, Charlotte (McLain) (’55), have been members of the Church of the Nazarene the majority of their lives. James has served as a board member and teacher in their local churches. James, Charlotte and the families of their five children all live in Southern California.

DR. GENE HEASLEY (Special Recognition)
The curiosity into the world of chemistry began while in grade school. Dr. Heasley and his brother, Vic, would improvise with home chemistry kits, making up their own experiments. The experiments of the early days birthed a long-time career in the field of science and research. After completing an A.B. degree in chemistry at Hope College in Holland, MI, Dr. Heasley continued his studies at the University of Kansas, completing a Ph.D. in chemistry in 1961.

While completing the Ph.D. program, Dr. Heasley joined the faculty of Bethany Nazarene College (BNC) in 1960. In addition to his role as professor, Dr. Heasley served as head of the Chemistry Department and Chairman of the Science Division. Dr. Heasley was often recognized for his commitment to education and his ability to inspire and motivate students to their fullest potential.

One of Dr. Heasley’s most significant influences of students came through the numerous chemistry research projects he led. The college strongly encouraged professor/student research. His first project was with James Bertram and was conducted in one of the “vet huts” Don Beaver had converted into a science laboratory. Encouraged to continue research with his students, Dr. Heasley teamed with his brother, a professor at Pasadena College (now Point Loma Nazarene University) in 1969 to form a research camp for the purpose of joint research between students from both colleges. Dr. Heasley, Vic and the students spent summers conducting research in Pasadena, San Diego and Bethany until 1986. From this research, numerous papers were published in scientific journals. Dr. Heasley also coauthored Chemistry and Life in the Laboratory with his brother and SNU alumnus, Val Christensen.

Dr. Heasley completed 40 years of instruction, research and leadership at SNU, retiring in 1999. He and his wife, Donna, live in Dorr, MI, where they are active in his boyhood church, now Burnips Wesleyan, and serve as leaders of the seniors group. They also spend time gardening and working their small farm. When their small orchard of fruit trees and garden began producing more than they needed, they set up a roadside stand. People were eager to purchase fresh produce and this has now become a summer hobby. They have also planted prairie grass in the effort to promote conservation and attract more natural wildlife to the farm.

DR. ROBERT LAWRENCE (Special Recognition)
“The Father of the Biology Department,” Dr. Robert Lawrence graduated from Eastern Nazarene College in 1944 and completed his Masters in 1946 from Boston University. While completing his thesis, Dr. Lawrence accepted a teaching position at Heary Ford Boys’ School in Massachusetts. During the next two years, Dr. Lawrence was actively pursued for a teaching position within the Nazarene higher educational system, ultimately leading him to join Bethany Peniel College (BPC) in the fall of 1947.

Recruited to teach biology, his resources consisted of a few supplies and one classroom located in the Liberal Arts building. The maintenance men had built laboratory tables, each with fluorescent lights, and a small room was available for storage and extra workspace. The reality was that Dr. Lawrence would need to equip the department as he taught. This did not discourage him; he was energized by the challenge. He found creative ways of securing contributions, including taking any piece of equipment that had the potential to be refurbished and fixing it himself.

While outfitting the department, he also taught the vast majority of its courses, remained current on the burgeoning field of biological research, and conducted routine field research while shepherding and preparing science majors for the medical field. Dr. Lawrence established a high level of expectation, demanding the very best of his students, and within a few short years, students were graduating with exceptional marks. He also modeled continuing education, completing his Ph.D. in zoology at Oklahoma State University in 1964.

In 1968, BPC, which had been remained Bethany Nazarene College, played a significant role in helping to launch a new Nazarene college in Olathe, KS. Several professors joined the faculty of Mid-America Nazarene College (now Mid-America Nazarene University). Dr. Lawrence made the journey north where he taught until 1975. Recruiting former students to take his place, he joined Mount Vernon Nazarene College in 1975 and served as the VP of Student Affairs for 14 years.

Today, Dr. Lawrence lives in Laramie, WY, where he enjoys working on his computer. He continues to demonstrate his commitment to learning by faithfully recording his notes from classes, research projects and field studies, adding the names of those involved in each endeavor, signifying his ultimate passion – his students.

For more information, contact Brenda Styers, Director of Alumni Relations, at 405.491.6312 or email